A little fashion week review: Alexander Wang does rock and roll just right

Good morning, Sunday. It's a cloudy day in London town but we're happily warm in our location and having a lovely time. Back across the pond, fashion week has been full on and though I haven't seen anything that made me ooh and ahh (more on Raf at Calvin in a later post perhaps) but I will say this- Alexander Wang had me at all black and lots of leather for the perfect New York downtown cool chick thing he's always done so so well. I pretty much loved everything.

So much to love here. Or there.  Wang is at his best when he's channeling that New York basic rock and roll edge that I love so much. Really enjoyed this show. Not a revelation, not a ton of newness, but just clothes you can love on and wear anywhere and look fab and sexy and cool. Mad swagger on this runway. Love love love. Also there's something slightly 90s, almost minimalist thing here- can fully imagine wearing these clothes in my early years in New York. 

That's about it for now. Cause that's what's up this looking from afar on this foggy Sundy in Londowntown. 

Yours, in rock and roll souls. XO

London stylewatch: Three basics all the cool girls love

Good afternoon (or late morning) to you. I'm here in London and things are going really well. I love this city more than I can explain- if there is a city more akin to my aesthetic and POV I can't think of one (besides NY of course). I adore this cloudy chilly place and am grateful I'm here. Will have more for you on my hijinks in the UK but one thing I must point out, inevitably, is style. People in London have style in absolute spades.  

So if you're packing for a trip to London miladies and you need some tips- here's one, or rather, three.

Dark trousers (preferably cropped)
Dark jumpers/sweaters
Brogues

Repeat.

Trousers/jumpers/brogues. That's all you need really. And maybe if you're the type, a dress or skirt to wear with said brogues. Or a feminine blouse like above. Lovely innit?

Let it be known that every stylish girl here wears this look. And it's absolutely fantastic. I've been seeing a bit of front pleating in the trousers with a higher waist, and brogues with a little ankle sock are very much a thing. The jumpers should be well worn in and a bit ratty. It's better that way, a bit more punk rock. Not too perfect. More tomboy than lady lady. It's utilitarian chic at its best and with a bit of red lipstick, it becomes sexy in its own right. Such a cool and confident look.

But my own relationship with brogues is a complex one. They don't look great on me and I try desperately to buy a perfect pair each year and usually fail. The ones I can rock are far more streamlined (think a nice clean slim oxford) than the proper variety like a Church's or Doc Marten. I can't go full clunk. It's frumpy on me but variations abound and I adore a good trouser brogue jumper vibe. I'm all about a menswear moment as you know and I felt inspired to share. Just in case you're packing for a trip here- jeans are always great. Leather moto great too. But you need a brogue and a jumper and a trouser to fully embrace the London look. I adore it and look forward to more inspiration and loveliness. Just remember that magic formula wherever you are- TJB. TJ to the B.

Ooh and read this little wiki thing if you want to know the history of the brogue. Interesting stuff.

I'm in love with London and in love with its fabulous style. Cause that's what's up this well heeled Wednesday in the UK. Yours, in God Save. XO

My take on the Superbowl spots

Good morning, Monday. Off to the UK tonight and very excited to visit one of my very favorite cities. And yes I packed. It's two bags. Best I could do. Two weeks in February in a cold city and such. Sue me.

So last night was the Super Bowl and even though I'm not much of a football chick, the last half of the game was exciting. But here's what wasn't exciting- the commercials. As a card carrying member of the advertising community and also as a lifelong fan of great commercials, the big show was a bit of a deflategate when it came to commercials.

It's no secret the country is in a weird spot. That's why Melissa McCarthy as Sean Spicer on SNL was so hilarious. It's hard to ignore what's happening in the world, and although many feel today's brands should not get in bed with politics, many of the spots just felt off and boring and not worthy of the price tag with which they come. I wasn't even going to watch the game, but I ended up finishing all of my packing so plopped down on the sofa like a good American and tuned in.

And although I did not want two hours or so of political nuance or otherwise, I do feel something else became apparent to me as I watched the spots. Brands are now in a position to craft real change, and many consumers expect them to as the whole "brands in service" model is more important than ever. In the few weeks since the Trump presidency began, we've seen brands suffer if they support him and we've seen brands speak out against him- from Howard Schulz of Starbucks to boycotts of Uber to Nordstrom dropping Ivanka Trump's line.

So for me, I would have liked to see brands do more than tell us something. They need to show us something. We need what I'll call "action brands" to connect with consumers. For instance, the Audi spot was good (a bit off brand if you ask me), but what would have been cooler than just saying Audi supports equal pay for equal work would have been Audi donating money to women's causes that help women get back on their feet or putting together programs for young women to succeed. Or show us how Audi as an organization is empowering women.

I did like that lumber spot, but when I tried to go on their site and finish watching the story, the site had crashed. If you are asking me to take action as a consumer and go to a site, it better work. I have no doubt someone's getting fired today. Oh and I can't unsee that Mr. Clean ad. Awful. Nothing sexy about it. 

Also, the Bud spot that was period and showed how a young beermaker moved to America and became a success felt a bit like pandering to me. Because there's no action. Could Bud do a little more to help other young immigrants achieve their dreams? 

And if brands don't want to show us vs. tell us, the ads better be damn funny a la Melissa McCarthy's performance on SNL. And though her spot was funny, I can't really remember what car it was for. So not terribly memorable for me. Thus, not good enough. It was Kia by the way.

If you missed the spots in real time, you can watch them all here. Everything felt just out of step and not quite worthy. It's because we're in a very peculiar moment and think we are looking for brands to reflect the times in which we live, or otherwise, entertain the crap out of us. The ads last night did neither. And I think brands have a big opportunity to be genuine and authentic and help make a difference. And that's just my two cents. Oh and the halftime show with Lady Gaga? It was fine. She's a great performer. She's not really my thing but at least she tried, and I kept praying they would cut to Mike Pence during "Born this way". That's her suspended above the stadium. Aren't we all just a little bit in limbo? Fitting.

Cause that's what's up this post Bowl morning in the 718. Yours, in not just telling, but showing. Cheerio. XO



Keeping calm and carrying on as I pack for the UK

Good afternoon, Friday. It's been a week.

But I'm off to London on Monday and I'm so excited. Two weeks there. Can't wait. One of my all time favorite cities and one of the only other cities I can see myself living in one day. I'll be working most of the time but sure to squeeze in a few great meals, and of course, a stop at Liberty, a must for me because their beauty department is pretty much everything.

So as I start to pack (Lord help me), I'll channel my inner Shrimpton and hopefully not bust my suitcase. London in the winter is not easy when it comes to packing, and when you look online, the things people tell you to pack have nothing to do with style or fashion whatsoever.  I need faux fur. I need leather.  I need a vast array of leopard print. I need a strong boot game. Hopefully I'll get to the airport in time for my flight. Oy to the vey.

And I look forward to some posts from across the pond as I reacquaint myself with my very severe case of Anglophilia. Cause that's what's up this Friday in New York, Monday in London kind of day in the 212. Yours, in keeping calm and carrying on (and checking a bag too). XO

On patriotism

Good morning, Monday. Another chilly gloomy day in NYC. Winter has come. And from the looks of things out here in America, we need to defend ourselves from our very own white walkers, though we're not going to build any kind of wall.

So the last few years or so I've been thinking a lot (really I have) about what it means to be a patriot. Like some of you, I am a child of the 80s, when Reagan was President throughout most of my schooling before college. Full disclosure- I grew up in a very pro Reagan home, and although I know now that he was far from the pinnacle of perfection many Republicans hold him to, I remember very clearly understanding what it meant to be a patriot. Or at least, I thought I did.

Because Reagan did not build walls, in fact, he told the Russians to tear them down. And sure, we grew up fearing a nuclear showdown with said Russians and encountered the era of greed is good, the AIDs crisis, and the war on drugs to name just a few. But during those  days, I never, ever doubted that even as a young person, I would throw down for my country no matter what. And then time passed and the Clintons came and I became a reluctant grown up. And having also survived two generations of Bush in the White House, I still very rarely questioned my allegiance. And after 9/11, I stood besides my fellow New Yorkers and felt proud of my country, a country that was attacked on its own shores and somehow, we would defeat an enemy who sought to destroy our way of life and hated us for our lifestyle and freedoms and general American values. But during the years that followed, I became embarrassed by a President who repeatedly seemed the puppet for the likes of Dick Cheney and Karl Rove and I felt something different. A sense that being American was shifting into something else, something far more sinister and conservative and Puritanical.  The emergence of an enemy within our own country- a Tea Party ethos that felt wrong. Off. Antiquated. It felt to me that this is not who we are, but somehow, this is what we were becoming. 

And then Obama became President and yes we could. And for a moment, no they couldn't.  I remember his first Inauguration so clearly. I cried. Many cried. It was an amazing day for our country and somehow, hope was restored. And then we all went back to living lives that felt protected- gay marriage passed, women's rights were intact, we had a leader that listened to our music and often read our minds. I felt safe. But did I feel patriotic? Not particularly. Because under Obama I took my freedoms for granted, and I lost track of the fact that there were real threats to our freedom within our own borders.  I don't know how but I lost my sense of what it means to be American even though I had a President I actually liked as a human and not just leader of the free world.  It's like you don't know how good you have it till it's gone. So cut to now.

It goes without saying that these are dark days. That try our souls. That makes us gasp and wonder how this happened. But out of all of these crazy executive orders that encompass a blatant disregard for process and protocol, we have somehow all become patriots again, in a matter of two weeks. Because Donald Trump ran and won on a platform of patriotism too, but much like he maligns our media, it's fake. Fake patriotism. 

Because no true patriot would allow our freedoms to be upended. No true patriot would allow what's happening on immigration. No true patriot would put up a wall of any kind. Because American patriotism involves fighting for freedom. And human rights. And fairness. And huddled masses yearning to breathe free.  As an American, I am horrified by Donald Trump. Every day. He is beyond dangerous and seems every bit the madman. And this, this somehow, is our new normal. But guess what else is our new normal? Fighting him. Fighting him every day. Taking to the streets, signing petitions, calling our elected officials. Voicing our dissent over his horrible governance. And somehow, someway, through this dark time,  I rediscovered what it means to be a patriot, and it's quite different than this nationalist version Trump keeps putting out there in 140 characters or less, because he's too much of a coward to face the American people and cowers behind social media to push his agenda and distract us from the superstorm he's creating in Washington. 

This new patriotism brings out the very best in us, while showing the very worst in him. My grandparents were the children of immigrants, but my parents were born in this country and I was born in this country.  There are many of us that don't face the odds of not being able to get back home if we go overseas- so the issue of immigration is one we could very easily ignore if we wanted to. But this weekend you saw us do anything but, because as Americans, we knew that banning Muslims (don't think it's anything but that) or anyone just because of where they were from was wrong. And we immediately mobilized and the ACLU was able to jump in and temporarily put a block on this insanity. Because even though this President talked about giving America back to the people when he was sworn in, he miscalculated the strength of all the people who he was not speaking to. But we heard him, and we continue to hear him, and we're not going to put up with it. Generally, I'm not a fan of Hollywood mixing with Washington, but last night at the SAG Awards, I felt proud of the entertainment industry- speech after speech referenced the cruelty of this President. 

And then big business came out and voiced outrage at this weekend's news. Big tech like Google and Facebook, who employ many people from many countries, came out swinging. Google has created a crisis fund to donate to causes like the ACLU to raise 4 million dollars, while AirBnB, a true disrupter in the business space, has announced it will house refugees. And Howard Schultz of Starbucks, whose letter to employees I'm sharing here struck a chord with me, is a testament to how brands are looking to connect and be more than just a cup of coffee, but a whole new version of value add; even though some on my social circles felt it smacked of marketing tactics. I say who cares? We all know brands are in service to consumers in more ways than ever, and that we seek brands that align with our values. So it's not shocking many deleted Uber this weekend in favor of Lyft, who donated a hefty sum to the ACLU as Uber CEO Travis Kalanick had many deleting the Uber app because he is on the wrong side of history by showing support for Trump. What's coming to light is that even though many want to stay out of politics, you can't right now.  It's just too important and too big and too terrifying. And tomorrow night at 8 pm, he's announcing his pick for the Supreme Court. Get ready, patriots. Because if the first two weeks of the Bannon presidency are any indication, we are in for it. America is at it's very best when we rebel, when we fight, when we stand up for what we believe in. Let's get our country back.  Because maybe we didn't all realize how much it means to us. But those days are long gone.

As the news continue to grow more grave from Washington, I have never been prouder to be an American. Because we are at our best when we are fighting tyranny and protecting our freedom and rights.  Admittedly, my so called bubble life may have had me forgetting what it means to protect my freedom and fight for the right things, but that bubble has burst and now we're all trying to clean up the mess.  This will not end well for Trump. I'm almost sure of that. Because for many of us that went on auto pilot in America for a while, we're not going back there any time soon. So if you've been questioning what it means to be an American in this era of fake patriotism and insipid nationalism/fascism, I've got your answer. Just align and join together and dot every I and cross every T when it comes to taking down this Presidency.  I'll be right there with you, because some things, many things really, are worth fighting for. That's what being an American is all about. So don't tell me I'm not a patriot. Or that Meryl Streep is not a patriot. Or that the millions around the country who are putting boots on the ground to fight this madness are not patriots. Whether we live on the coasts or create alliances in the South or the Rust Belt, we will get through this, united we stand and such.

Cause that's what's up this proud to be an American (even with shame and embarrassment for our leadership) kind of Monday in the 212. Yours in true American spirit, with liberty and justice for all. XO


Happy (fashion) Friday

Hello, Friday. I nursed my cold with wine last night and magically I feel better. Is that normal?

So I had an early am appointment for my tresses this am and was flipping through January's British Vogue and came across this fab story shot by Dario Cattelani for the "What to buy Now" section.

Love everything about the styling- very spare, very 90s, very cool and industrial/minimal. As we all try to come together and figure out how easy it was for Trump to topple democracy as we know it, why not console ourselves with khakis? I know. It's ridiculous. But so is Trump. So there's that.

Anyway, wanted to share because I love the vibe of this story- outsized khakis, flared jeans, jumpusits- always a good idea. Borrowed from the boys or otherwise. These are clothes that just work. And that's something in these times. 

Cause that's what's up this fashion forward Friday in the 212. Yours, in paperbag waists and 90s moments to heal the soul. XO

How Mary Tyler Moore helped all of us girls make it after all

Good morning, Thursday. Another gloomy day in NYC. Might we look forward to some sun soon? 

So it was with sadness I heard of Mary Tyler Moore's passing. She was in many ways America's sweetheart and an amazing role model to women both on and off of television. It goes without saying how influential the Mary Tyler Moore Show was for women coming of age in the 70s- a single woman on television managing a career and on birth control was a revelation at the time. I love the NY Times recap on Mary's sense of style- it was very feminine and cool and relatable- the predecessor to female workwear before the 80s came along and put a big shoulder pad on everything so women could power dress and feel more closely akin to the men when it came to dressing for the office. I love the liberated looks of Mary's wardrobe- comfortable in her own skin and nary a shoulder pad in sight. Easy breezy. And fabulous.

I will always love Mary- an amazing humanitarian and champion of causes like diabetes and animal rights. And though I admired Mary's style, I somehow knew her style would never be mine, because I was way more a Rhoda.  Boho, off kilter, a free spirit with an urban sensibility. According to Wikipedia, Rhoda Morgenstern was  "a spunky, weight-conscious, flamboyantly fashioned Jewish neighbor" who got her own spin off after appearing on Mary Tyler Moore.  Kind of reminds me of someone. ;)

I love love love Rhoda and always have. I could so relate to her Jewish New York thing,  even before I had a Jewish New York thing (I had a Jewish Philadelphia thing). From her relationship with her doorman to her relationship with her mother to her bestie friendship with Mary, I just adored Rhoda. And that's another amazing thing the Mary Tyler Moore Show explored- the importance of female friendship. And long before Carrie Bradshaw. I wonder if it's a coincidence that Carrie was a journalist too? Surely all female roles on television owe a debt to MTM. And at a time in our culture when women's rights are front and center, I can't help but think about Mary, and how important her contribution was and is to conversations about women, work, life/sex/dreams. Because I will never forget the feeling of moving to New York on my birthday at the tender age of 23, one of the first images I saw in my imagination was Mary, throwing her hat in the air.  I too was going to make it after all, and as I explored my new city, there were many moments where I felt like tossing my hat in the air, even when I often felt like throwing in the towel.

So as the gloom of this Presidency continues to overshadow my mind and mood, I'm grateful to Mary for giving me hope and empowering women everywhere to follow their dreams. Even though I've always been more of a Rhoda, I just love that MTM. Rest in peace, sweet lady.

Cause that's what's up this who can turn the world on with a smile kind of Thursday in the 212. Yours, in hat tosses and hopefulness. And to all the Rhodas and Marys out there. Cheers to female friendship in a crazy world- love is all around you. XO


PS- love this cover by Husker Du of the theme song. Thanks to my friend Katie Miller Lyman for sharing. (we're both Rhodas by the way).


The soundtrack of my wanderlust

Good afternoon, Tuesday. Still shite weather in New York and wondering if the skies are ever going to clear.

And wondering if my mood is ever going to clear as well. Since you know who entered the White House, I can't seem to get it together. I signed some petitions, shared some things, made some calls, and started a group on Facebook where producers can get together and find a way to make some noise and make some change.

But I'm struggling for content on this blog that's not of a political bent. I can't seem to bring myself to comment on the beauty of the Chanel couture show, or share a pair of sneakers I'm loving or a hair product that works for frizz. It all seems so trivial at the moment and wondering if you are all feeling the same. It's kind of how I felt after 9/11- not sure how to react, what to share, and when it's ok to just be normal again. I realize that we must all go on and make sense of our lives somehow, but I'm still gutted and wondering what this blog would be most useful for- comic relief? A respite from the constant stream of bad news? A platform for my anger and sadness in this current climate? I'm not entirely sure just yet.

I was thinking this morning about the one thing that seems to soothe me right now, and that's thoughts of travel.  I happened to be flipping around on Spotify this am and settled upon Moby's "Play", an album which always takes me back to a time of great fondness. I remember that album came out while I was doing some work/play travel around Europe- I remember being in Amsterdam, Stockholm, Glasgow, and London and hearing that album everywhere. It spoke to me then and it still does. So many good tracks on it and realized how important music can be when it comes to soothing and recalling the good things that make us happy, and sometimes, the bad shit that makes us sad. In this case, it was the former and that album, along with Travis's "The Man Who" were near constant soundtracks to my Euro adventures. From running around the red light district in Amsterdam with Lord knows whom to hanging out with pals in Glasgow and interviewing them for a project while doing Lord knows what, it was a lovely moment in time. I'm glad I was able to conjure up some joy today. Wondering what music takes you somewhere else or to another place? I asked on Facebook and got such an interesting array of responses- from Prince to OMD to Sting to Iron Butterfly and back again. 

I guess the next few days/weeks/months may find me in the mood for music that makes me feel good, and music that inspires me to continue to go to as many places as possible- to expand my base of reference and also to inspire my future adventures. I'd love to look back on this time and think of it in a positive way- when we all connected and used everything we had and everything we knew to make things right.

Well, that's where I'm at anyway.  Guess at the current moment, it would be nice to be traveling around and healing up a bit. I'm looking forward to a ten day trip to the UK in February. Lord knows our friends across the pond are having their own crisis at the moment. I hope that this too shall pass. Or else I may just stay in bed till it's over. Or at least until I pack my bags. Wonder what music I'll be listening to on this next little stamp of the passport? 

Cause that's what's up this can't take my music kind of Tuesday in the 212. Yours, in trying to make sense of the senseless (and not yet succeeding). XO

Welcome to the new age of absurdity

Good afternoon, Monday. Oh, it's a week. Already.

I was thrilled this weekend (welll not thrilled because of why) to attend the New York march. It was amazing. Inspiring. Touching. But then I got home and saw all the hate from everyone who were complaining about everything. From rich women who eat good breakfasts to those who felt we should be "happy to live in the best country in the world" and  "why are you complaining" and such. And though I could argue my point from here to Kingdom Come, and I will, it seems there's not much point changing the minds of people who are not open, not educated, and selectively watch the news. Because to me, as a reasonable thinking human who has to tie my shoes every day and get on the train and do all the other stuff regular humans do, I just don't get it. Yea, I can get why you didn't like Hillary. Sure, Obama- I loved him but get why you might not have. Sorta. But for the life of me I can't understand how a nation of monkey brains elected Donald Trump. Well we kinda didn't if you count popular votes and stuffs. But we did. And how here he is.

From the joke of Inauguration day (which seemed more like a death march) to the joke of the Inaugural Ball (catch these acts at the Ball and then at your local mall food court or theme park), I feel we have entered absurd times. It's absurd that our President seems permanently dyed orange. It's absurd that his press secretary absolutely hates the press. It's absurd facts have somehow become alternative.  It's absurd that the youngest Trump desperately needs a hug and nobody will give him one. It's absurd that someone qualified lost the election and someone completely unqualified one. It's absurd that the rust belt thinks that this man who craps in a gold toilet on Fifth Avenue is somehow their champion.  It's absurd that his wife looks like she wants to quietly mouth the words "help me" every time she appears on camera otherwise trying desperately to channel Jackie O. It's absurd that our President mouths the words to "My Way" at his first dance when Nancy Sinatra reminded us very clearly what the opening lines to that song were:

"And now, the end is near".

It must be. And it's every bit as absurd if not more so than a Hunter Thompson ether binge or a Kurt Vonnegut novel or a Tom Robbins bit of prose.  A brilliant Aziz Ansari, on SNL this week, remarked that Benny Hill music would be an apt choice to be a soundtrack to this administration.  I don't disagree. Needless to say, I look forward to some amazing art and music and thinking in the coming days.  We need it. Because it will piss this nacho colored narcissist. A lot. 

Because as we ramp up and gear up and rise up against this Cheeto administration, let's use humor and art and absurdity to help us get through these very fucked up times. I couldn't help but think of the Dada movement as a perfect example of how art reflects the times in which we live-  for those who didn't study art history in college, Dada was an avante garde art movement that started in Europe post WW1 as a reaction to the nationalist landscape and "upending bourgeois sensibilities".  Artists like Marchel Duchamp, Man Ray, Andre Breton, and others were spearheading this movement- a movement whose work I got to see firsthand a few years back at a Dada retrospective at the MOMA, one of my favorite shows in many years for its humor, rebellion, and use of found objects and collage with great success.  I loved the incorporation of every day objects to challenge the very meaning of what art even is. In fact and from the same article above, "so intent were members of Dada on opposing all norms of bourgeois culture that the group was barely in favor of itself: "Dada is anti-Dada," they often cried. The group's founding in the Cabaret Voltaire in Zürich was appropriate: the Cabaret was named after the eighteenth century French satirist, Voltaire, whose novella Candide mocked the idiocies of his society. As Hugo Ball, one of the founders of both the Cabaret and Dada wrote, "This is our Candide against the times." 

And this my friends, is our Candide. Our very own Candide. So embrace the absurd. Let it motivate you to create, and meet, and shout. We have all wondered what all of this ridiculousness would mean to creativity, and I see great things on the way. Just don't expect them to make a ton of sense. Because we've stopped making that the moment we elected this buffoon to the White House. Welcome to the new Dada, kids. Let's get to making. Because the every day objects and news stories of our lives are screaming to be Dadafied, though they're doing a pretty great job as is. 

Cause that's what's up this life is a cabaret of absurdity kind of Monday in the 212. Yours, in nudes descending staircases and all sorts of other madness. Da da da. XO

TBT: Saluting the style moments of Michelle Obama

Good morning, Thursday. It's been a week and I'm feeling sad to see the Obamas leave as many of us are. 

So I thought I'd share some of my favorite first lady looks from the Obama Presidency through the years. Michelle became a style icon and though at times i found her look a bit too "retro", I look at these pictures now and realize she is and was the epitome of confidence, strength, and easy American style. I love how comfortable she is in her own skin, and to me, her very best looks were for evening- not many can rock a formal gown like Mrs. O. And to have a beaming man by your side who worships and adores you? Well, that's the best accessory of all time.

I love the look above from her recent and last Jimmy Fallon appearance as FLOTUS. I love this Givenchy look- edgy and cool and super modern.

These two above may be two of my all time favs. So stunning. 

So let's raise our glasses to Michelle Obama and her infinitely amazing style, grace, and standing as a fabulous woman who made us all smile, tear up, and touched our hearts. A classier lady you will not find. I salute you, Michelle, and all of your choices, style and otherwise. It goes without saying how much we will miss you. Feminine, fantastic, and now, a distant memory when hope was alive and well and living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  Yes, you did Michelle. Yes, you did.

Cause that's what's up this all star salute of a throwback Thursday in the 212. Yours, in parting is such sweet sorrow. XO